(For the full story download from the MARFAM website or get the booklet from [email protected])

19 December.  Read, reflect, share, pray.  Grandpa Joseph had been a catechist and had studied some of the history of Israel, the Holy Land, where Jesus lived and died 2000 years ago.  He explained how many times it has been invaded, wars were fought and villages were destroyed, people were captured and taken to foreign countries. According to the Bible God was always on their side, even if he was punishing them for not following his laws. The Holy Land has been ruled by different nations for 3000 years, already long before the time of Jesus. Seldom has there been peace in the land for long, also not in the other nearby countries. In our day Israelis, mainly Jews, and Palestinians, who are mostly Muslims, live there and at present there is no peace. A brutal surprise attack happened on October 7, 2023.  Hamas, a militant group in Gaza, part of the country, wanting to overthrow the Israeli government invaded villages, killed many family members and captured others, taking them away as hostages. Israel’s army retaliated and the war that followed almost immediately, using all kinds of the most modern weapons, is one of the most horrific and brutal wars imaginable. The whole world can watch on TV and social media as the tragedy unfolds of more than 18,000 deaths including 8000 children.   Massive destruction and thousands more injuries of innocent Palestinians and residents in Gaza who find themselves in the way of the two warring parties, is still continuing. .

“Who is ultimately responsible?” “How and when will the air strikes, bombing, and killing end?” “Is the end of the world about to happen?” people are asking. “But what can we ordinary people and our families do?”  “Pope Francis has asked us to pray every day for peace and an end to war, which, as he keeps on saying, is a defeat where no one ever wins.”  Many world leaders try to stop the war, and to mediate, but Israel is demanding the return of their hostages, before they will stop and so carries on their attacks against Hamas who equally could give up the fight. The Archbishop of Jerusalem even offered himself in exchange for the release of captured children.  People are asking, “Is it a war between different religions, or is it political, ethnic between groups of people, and about land?” 

 Scripture:  The Lord turns his face against the wicked to destroy their remembrance from the earth. Where the just cry out the Lord hears and rescues them in all their distress. Ps 34.. Pope Francis:  War is a defeat. Always.